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Israel: a Sense of Family

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 9:51
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News From Jerusalem

By Tom Brennan

Israel is a Family

Israel is a Family

The mindless violence in a short run of weeks has killed a three month old baby girl, a valiant Druze (not a Jew) border guard and a young woman in Israel who came to learn to be a good Jewish bride. Four righteous men, three American one British, all rabbis at prayer were slaughtered in a planned and premeditated attack. Cars, knives and meat cleavers and pistols were the tools of violence. The murderers were shot and their funerals were turned into orgies of rioting and calls for more attacks. Perverted media coverage all but blamed Israeli police for stopping further murders by shooting the perpetrators. The killers were declared martyrs and new recruits were being whipped up into a frenzy.

What a contrast to the scenes at the rites for the victims’ families. Photos of an innocent baby, an American citizen by birth, a young woman who had journeyed to Israel to study how to be a virtuous bride to her husband to be and four rabbis, viciously murdered by violent men; these images hit the hardest. One media source even rushed a report on the air saying a mosque had been attacked, not a synagogue. The amateur hour is alive and well on American television. Weak statements from some politicians in the US were made and impressed no one.

What motivates each people? Ethnic solidarity, political ties and parties, religious urging might be considered as reasons. Both groups have within them a common language, religious beliefs and political concepts. But why the vast gulf of difference? One group mourns and gathers quietly to bury a baby, a wife to be or a rabbi and husband. They then sit shiva to pass through mourning so they can renew life again. The other is herded into riotous mobs, with flags and banners, shouting death to Jews, pledging more blood and hurt and declaring the killers heroes and martyrs. Distant critics show images and declare victims as causes and murderers as victims. Today’s atmosphere of bad is good and good is bad echoes “as it was in the days of Noah” in a world turned upside down.

Israel is in fact a family, descended from a a nonjew named Avram. He obeyed a command to take his family, herds and flocks and go to a place he would be shown (no map, no GPS, no Googling). He did not speak the language, left all that was familiar and just went on faith. He would be called Abraham by G-d and would be called “the friend of G-d”. Not until Moses would another man be as close to The Almighty. Abraham was in his 90’s when G-d told him he would have a son and through that son he would be father to a nation that would outnumber the stars. In those days before cities, light pollution and atmospheric smog, the stars were overwhelming to nomads and villagers. That was an awe inspiring prophecy in every way.

Many Christians are moving to the belief that we are grafted into a larger family, the seed of Abraham. We are adopted members of a family that has wandered in the wilderness, turned our backs on G-d and been welcomed back, exiled, deported and dispersed and still remained close in many ways. Jews are welcomed back under the Return, we are welcomed back because this is where our journey began. There is much more in common than what separates us and many of realize that now.

Hamas, Hezbollah and the Caliphate use the same longing to overcome the vacuum of modern individualism to recruit brutal murderers. Being welcomed into their fellowship of violence satisfies both primal urges and human ones as each needs. What a poor substitute for what Israel has had for thousands of years.

Our Western culture has made individualism, freedom and having our own way the goals of life. Too much of a good thing is harmful indulgence and many in our culture experience and aimless freedom, self indulgent individualism and excessive instant gratification. We’re told we can have it all and wind up with nothing. In Israel many Western social and cultural practices have been brought in by the emigration and dealings with Europe, Asia and the Americas. The recent violence and how Israelis reacted are lessons in how we need to return to the family, born and adopted, we once were. There is much to learn here.

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